Kerala Governor M.O.H. Farook maintained cordial relations with his opponents and groomed many political leaders, Congress leaders in his home state of Puducherry said, a day after his death.
"He was a very learned politician and trained many in politics, including me. Puducherry politics stabilised after his entry. He was friendly with everybody," V. Vaithilingam, a former chief minister of Puducherry said.
"Farook was a versatile politician and had held several important posts like speaker and chief minister of Puducherry at a very young age. He used to maintain cordial relations with everybody, including his political rivals, a rare quality," E. Valsaraj, former home minister of Puducherry, said.
Suffering from multiple myeloma - cancer of plasma cells - 75-year-old Farook passed away at the Apollo Hospital in Teynampet here around around 9.20 p.m. Thursday.
His body was taken to Puducherry at night and is being kept at his residence for people to pay their last respects. The funeral is scheduled for Friday evening.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy cancelled his engagements and went to Puducherry to pay his last respects to Farook.
Kerala has declared a holiday for all state government offices, and central government offices in the state capital will not function either. Puducherry also declared a government holiday Friday.
Farook, also a former union minister, was sworn in as Kerala governor Sep 8 last year. Born in Karaikal, Puducherry, he was a graduate in economics, and was a member of the Puducherry assembly between 1964 and 1991. He was twice the speaker of the assembly.
Between March-December 1990, he was the leader of opposition.
Thrice elected to the Lok Sabha from Puducherry in 1991, 1996 and 1999, he served as a minister of state for civil aviation and tourism from June 1991 to December 1992 in the P.V. Narasimha Rao government.
In 2004, he was appointed the Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia and held that post till December 2009.
Between January 2010 and September 2011, he was governor of Jharkhand.
In his younger days, Farook had participated in the struggle for liberation of Puducherry when it was a French colony.
He also took part in the struggle for an independent Puducherry when the late Morarji Desai was prime minister between 1977-79. Farook was arrested and lodged in jails in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu.
Farook was married to S.A. Kadhija Nachiyal in 1960 and they had one son and two daughters. He was a widower at the time of his death.